No Time To Die is still on general release around the world, even as it makes its way onto PVOD and prepares for a pre-Christmas DVD and BluRay release. The movie is closing in on $800 million globally and is apparently doing very big business on PVOD. However, the movie is proving divisive among both hardcore Bond fans and casual viewers of 007 adventures. Be warned…
Spoilers For No Time To Die
There are big spoilers from this point on. If you are still remaining a cleanskin and have somehow managed to avoid these spoilers online, then turn back now. Shit is gonna get real spoilery around here.
No Time To Die is proving divisive around two massive plot points. The movie borrows liberally from Fleming, specifically the novel You Only Live Twice.
In that novel, James Bond kills Blofeld with his bare hands, by choking him. A version of this happens in No Time To Die. The finale happens on an island off the coast of Japan where the villain lives, with a deadly garden full of poisonous plants, and the island is eventually destroyed with Bond caught up in the destruction, as in this movie.
However, the two factors that have caused so much disagreement among movie fans are Bond’s discovery that he has a daughter, and Bond’s death at the end of the movie.
In fact, both of these things are also rooted firmly in Fleming’s novel. Bond is missing and presumed dead at the end of You Only Live Twice. Amnesiac Bond is living in a small Japanese fishing community with Kissy Suzuki recovering from his serious injuries with no memory of his former life. Small facets of this plot were already borrowed for Skyfall.
As he leaves for Vladivistok, as his memories begin to return, Kissy decides not to tell him she is pregnant with his child. This plot point would no doubt have played out in more detail if Fleming had not passed away at the age of 58, between the publication of You Only Live Twice and The Man With The Golden Gun.
So Bond having a child he did not know about is not a betrayal of the character, as some online are claiming. It’s right there, in Fleming.
Back In London
Regarding Bond’s death, this link to You Only Live Twice is also evident. In the novel M writes Bond’s obituary in The Times. Bond’s grieving secretary Mary Goodnight adds a passage from American writer Jack London:
“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
In the movie, Bond is maliciously infected with a version of the Heracles virus, encoded to Madeline Swann and their daughter Mathilde by the villain, Safin.
This means he can no longer go anywhere near his newly discovered family without killing them. Knowing this, Bond makes a decision to sacrifice himself in order to ensure the missile silos are open, allowing the Royal Navy bombardment to penetrate the old Soviet missile silos and submarine base and destroy the stores of the Heracles virus before the various buyers arrive. Bond dies in the bombardment, having made peace with himself and his new family.
The same Jack London passage is read by M in the movie as MI6 colleagues gather to toast their fallen comrade. So, if this movie borrows so much from Fleming and You Only Live Twice does this mean Bond is not dead?
Last week there was a special screening of No Time To Die in London that was followed by a Q&A with several key crew members including screenwriters Gregg Wilson, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade. Purvis and Wade have been involved in the writing of every Bond movie since The World Is Not Enough.
Inevitably the question of Bond’s death came up and the writers confirmed a few things. This version of James Bond is dead, he died in the movie. According to the writers he is not floating in the sea of Japan somewhere, injured and with amnesia. He is dead.
The visual FX team confirmed it. They created…:
“…one shot where it’s clear Bond dies.”
This is referring to the shot of Bond on the roof as missiles rain down, and both he and the base are engulfed in flames. It is also clear in a shot of Q’s reaction to Bond’s sacrifice when you see 007’s vital signs flatline on the screen behind Q.
Wade said every time he watches the movie he gets very emotional at this point and it was not easy to create.
James Bond Will Return
Gregg Wilson, son of long-time Bond producer Michael G Wilson, confirmed that this does not mean James Bond is over. He confirmed that whatever happens next with Bond will not be rushed as:
“…we are creating a whole new Bond world, we don’t want to saturate the market with product.”
One of the attendees then asked a direct question regarding the famously loose continuity in the world of 007.
This centered on the appearance of various vehicles in Daniel Craig’s outings, despite Casino Royale being the start of his adventures as 007.
“Since Bond looks like he has the history of the franchise, for instance the Goldfinger DB5 and The Living Daylights Vantage stashed away in lock-ups around London, does that mean some version of those adventures happened to this Bond?”
Wade apparently laughed while responding:
“I wished you hadn’t asked that, it’s the forbidden question.”
The conversation then unfolded to confirm that Craig’s version of the DB5, and the Vantage, in continuity terms, are not the same cars from Dalton or Connery’s continuity and Craig’s Bond did not have those adventures. They just wanted nods to previous 007 adventures.
So there you have it, straight from the writers themselves. Bond did die, but he will return as a character as Craig’s 007 movies are a separate continuity. Daniel Craig’s 007 is a separate Bond microverse, with a definite beginning (Casino Royale), a middle, and an end (No Time To Die).
So you can stop arguing about it now, internet! All part of our Last Movie Outpost service. We can now get back to arguing about Star Wars… or something.